No of course I didn’t. But today I will.
I’ve been an independent, go my own way, creative-thing. Always. And, yes, that sounds stupid, because all the writers, artists, etc… say, “ever since I was a kid…” Yet truth be told—it’s true…ever since we were little.
BUT there was a day something extra woke up in me. And there have been two distinct times I almost let someone kill the good awakening.
This, the story of one.
For many years now, I spend a smattering of summer days in the Laguna/Newport area. I cherish this place. Very much. It’s sand and mist and food and love and people I adore and art and holy and magic with whimsy. When I go, I become lost in Never-Land.
One lovely thing to do in this place is called the Sawdust Festival. Two-hundred artists strut their stuff. You can touch, smell, look, talk, buy. Talking to artists is high on my favorite-things-to-do list. They are people with stories. With inner funk. Their art is speaking–you only need to stop, notice, listen.
One year, I was drawn to a woman who made paper & cloth-covered structures. Blocks. Houses. Cubes. She was working in her booth while the crowd ebbed and flowed. I watched her place strips of newspaper or cloth around the wood—like swaddling a baby. Then dip her hand into a bucket of white goop and—as best as I can describe—caress the paper/cloth with this gluey stuff. Swaddling. Caressing. Soothing. Smoothing. Over and over.
Such a simple technique. I was mesmerized at how this produced a beautiful bit of art. And, if she was really selling her work, based on the price, I thought this was absolutely fabulous. A way to earn a living and have fun. I wanted to buy something—but it wasn’t in my budget. That’s when it occurred to me, “I’ll make my own at home.”
With naïve bravery I asked the woman what the goop was. Presuming it to be Matte Medium—or some other version of Mod Podge. I quickly learned that she was not the friendly type when she quipped, “It’s home-made.”
Naïve me–again–went on to ask, “How do you make it?”
She had nothing to say to me. A cold response. She ignored me.
DO IT MYSELF
This could have been a killing point in my creativity. But it wasn’t. Instead, once home, I made the damn things. And, IMHO, rocked it. Putting my own twist on the idea, changing the material–the ending product actually looked like art.
(and I loved it)
Being happy and pleased with what was created, I dared to give it to someone for their birthday. This is when it went really—really—bad.
COLD HEARTS KILL
My heart pounded in my ears as the receiver of my art began to unwrap the gift. I had nerves crawling all through me. What would she think? Was it really good enough? And why the heck has she been weird to me all night? Maybe this gift will…
As everyone watched her open the box, she lifted the lid, peeked in, closed it, set it down and said, “oh that’s nice.”
I’m pretty certain she didn’t even look at me–just like the lady at the Sawdust Festival. Ignored. Dismissed. Others at the party wanted to know what was in the box… but she refused to show and said “it’s just some little thing.”
And I died.
Right there on an August night, under a hot shaded patio, with a glass of something to numb me in my hand.
Suddenly I did not rock the art. I was the most naïve, stupid, stoooopid girl in the world. What was I thinking to make some silly blocks wrapped with paper and cloth and words and love? To dare call this art.
I don’t remember much more of the evening. Except when I left I cried the entire way home. I had to stop along the way because my driving eyes couldn’t see through my tears.
WEAK WEEKS CREATED STRENGTH
As time marched on, I tried to do more art… but nothing came. I could only replay the scene that horrible August night. While, there were others who thought the things I made were good. Had worth. It was this one cold reaction that threatened to kill my creativity. To kill the person my Maker had in mind.
I cried a lot. Prayed a lot. Questioned a lot.
And then I cried some more.
Within a few weeks my Maker revealed the secret of gift receiver’s heart—the one who was acting strangely towards me. Unbeknownst to be, she’d begun to despise me. For reasons that still make me shake my head—I was released as a friend because I was becoming the girl my Maker had in mind. A girl who seeks out those on the fringes, misfits, artists, misunderstood, and people who—or seek to—display their inner funky.
THE GREATEST GIFT
In the end—the rejected gift of art was the greatest gift I could have ever received. It made me stronger.
I became a believer in who I am supposed to be in this season (and hopefully for the remainder of them). I dove deeper into my creativity and art. I sold more of those artsy blocks. I painted, drew, took commissions. Started teaching others. I began to build a new life. And in this life, even more, I sought out the people who deserve grace, because they too risked to be brave.
Like my experience, I’m certain there are many of you that don’t fit the mold others feel you should be in. And sometimes their words and actions threaten to kill who you are supposed to be. Who you are becoming. But sweet soul—don’t let them kill you.
I’m not gonna lie—words and actions hurt. They hurt really bad.
But your Creator, the Maker of your soul wants you to live authentically. To be you and not the role, or person, or mold that others think you should settle into.
Rock your thing.
You are not from a production line and mold.
You are one of a kind aweseomesauce.
Not everyone will accept you—don’t let the one cold response stop you. Keep going.
Like the Truth Card from two days ago…
Choose carefully who enters the garden of your becoming.
Keep going, keep growing you amazing funky thing.